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Deep Ocean Research Program Looking for Four Good Pennsylvania Science Teachers

26 May 1999

Penn State will select up to four Pennsylvania middle-school and high-school science teachers to join a research cruise at sea this summer to study active volcanoes and hydrothermal vents more than a mile below the surface of the ocean.

The program, titled Research and Education: Volcanoes, Exploration, and Life (REVEL), is based at the University of Washington. The project scientist in charge of this cruise will be Penn State Professor of Biology Charles Fisher, an active REVEL participant and organizer for the past four years.

"The teachers will get about 20 days of professional development, at sea and in workshops, which they will begin sharing with their students in Pennsylvania in the fall," Fisher says. They will join an international team of marine biologists, chemists and geologists in a multi-year effort to understand how communities of animals live on and around mineral chimneys known as Òblack smokersÓ and other structures associated with underwater volcanoes.

"We will have on board a very diverse group of scientists, including ecologists, physiologists, microbiologists, chemists, and geologists, who the teachers will work with around the clock on studies involving samples collected from the sea floor," Fisher says.The principal research tool will be the three-seater submarine, Alvin, which the scientists will use to set up experiments on the sea floor, collect samples of biological and geological materials, and take video and still-camera images.

Interested teachers must notify the Penn State REVEL office on or before June 1 of their intention to submit an application for the 1999 research cruise. Contact Heide A. Port, Graduate Secretary for the Penn State Department of Biology, 208 Mueller Laboratory, University Park, PA 16802, PHONE: (814) 863-7034, FAX: (814) 865-9131, E-MAIL: <>.

Four Pennsylvania teachers were included in the REVEL program for the first time last year thanks to support from the Penn State Eberly College of Science and the Outreach and Cooperative Extension office. They were Sandra Ivey, of Bangor Area Senior High School in Bangor; Patti Peterson, of Palisades High School in Richlandtown; Ellen Wright, of Perry Traditional Academy in Pittsburgh; and Roy DeRemer, of Warwick Middle School in Lititz, who each participated in the program, including a research cruise to the deep sea hydrothermal vents of the Juan de Fuca Ridge.

Sponsors of the REVEL program include the National Science Foundation, the University of Washington, the American Museum of Natural History, and Penn State. The REVEL program is directed by Veronique Robigou at the University of Washington. More information is available at the REVEL project site on the World Wide WEb at <>.